(Alliance News) - European stocks opened higher Thursday, with investors awaiting the Bank of England's decision on interest rates, although the central bank is expected to keep rates steady at 5.25 percent, the highest in 16 years, and most economists polled by Reuters expect a cut in August after the July 4 election.

Data released on Wednesday showed that British inflation rose by an annual 2.0 percent in May, meeting the central bank's inflation target.

Also on the topic of central banks, the SNB -- the Swiss central bank -- cut its benchmark rate by 25 basis points to 1.25 percent after a similar move at its previous meeting, in line with market expectations.

On the data front, producer prices in Germany fell 2.2 percent year-on-year in May, less than the previous month's 3.3 percent drop and compared to market expectations of a 2.0 percent drop. The data were released Thursday by Destatis.

The FTSE Mib advances 0.8 percent to 33,468.91 points.

London's FTSE 100 rises 0.1%, Paris' CAC 40 gains 0.5% while Frankfurt's DAX 40 is up 0.7%.

Among the smaller lists, the Mid-Cap is advancing 1.0 percent, the Small-Cap is up 0.7 percent to 28,875.06, while Italy Growth is posting a plus 0.3 percent to 8,137.39.

On the blue chip list, Azimut is advancing well, moving ahead 0.9 percent after eve's 1.7 percent decline.

Sales of Stellantis - in the green by 0.4% - fell in Europe in May, in line with the negative trend in the performance of the European market, where registrations fell 3.0% year-on-year to 912,000 units, a sharp reversal from the 13.7% increase in the previous month.

Banca BPER rises 1.0%, pricing in the EUR4.60 area after a 0.2% decline on the eve of the meeting.

Intesa, on the other hand, advances 0.7% to EUR3.48 per share. Of note, on the stock ODDO BHF set the target price at EUR4.40 with an 'outperform' rating.

Leonardo - just below par at EUR22.63 - announced that it has signed an agreement for the outright sale of its stake in Industria Italiana Autobus to Seri Industrial. Under the deal, Seri Industrial will take over 98 percent of the share capital while the remaining 2 percent will continue to be held by Invitalia, already a partner together with Leonardo in Industria Italiana Autobus.

Also among the bearish few is Pirelli, which is giving up 0.6 percent, in position for its third bearish daily candle.

On the Mid-Cap, Mondadori Editore advances 6.3 percent, with new price at EUR2.36 per share after two sessions closed with bearish trend.

For Moltiply Group, on the other hand, the asset is up 1.9%, rearing its head after two bearish sessions.

Iren - in the green with 1.2 percent - announced Wednesday that it has signed a new EUR200 million, 18-year, green-format credit line with the European Investment Bank, which will be used to support the group's sustainable investments in the 2023-2027 timeframe related to power grid resilience projects.

Sesa -- in the money with 1.1 percent -- reported Thursday that it closed the year to April 30 with consolidated revenues and other income of EUR3.21 billion from EUR2.90 billion in 2023 and marking a 10 percent growth.

On the Small- Cap, Seri Industrial moves ahead 7.0% to EUR4.04 per share, rebounding after two sessions in which it gave up more than 7%.

Boost also on Gabetti, which moves ahead 2.6% after eve's decline of 6.8%.

Cairo Communication advances 2.9%, following eve's 1.0% red.

Among SMEs, Arterra Bioscience is moving ahead 7.6 percent with new price at EUR3.50 per share, continuing the eve's gain closed with a plus 8.3 percent.

Energy - flat at EUR1.46 - reported that it has finalized the acquisition of 90 percent of Enermore. The transaction was for cash on the basis of a final price resulting in EUR1.3 million.

At the back of the pack, in a still uneventful list, Comal is giving up 3.4 percent, the subject of profit-taking after three sessions in which it picked up an aggregate of 20 percent.

Among Asian exchanges, the Nikkei has picked up 0.2 percent, the Shanghai Composite has contracted 0.4 percent, and the Hang Seng is giving up 0.6 percent.

Among currencies, the euro changed hands at USD1.0729 from USD1.0748 on Wednesday in European equities closing while the pound is worth USD1.2708 from USD1.2728 on Wednesday evening.

Among commodities, Brent crude trades at USD85.10 per barrel from USD85.61 per barrel at Wednesday's close. Gold, on the other hand, trades at USD2,342.22 an ounce from USD2,327.10 last night.

Thursday's macroeconomic calendar features the European Central Bank's monthly report at 1000 CEST, while the hottest moment of the day is the Bank of England's decision at 1300 CEST. At 1600 CEST, Eurozone consumer confidence will be released.

At 1430 CEST, overseas, room for jobless claims and housing market data. At 1700 CEST, crude oil stocks and EIA refinery number data will be released. At 2230 CEST, the Federal Reserve's balance sheet will be released.

Among the companies in the business square, no special events are scheduled.

By Maurizio Carta, Alliance News reporter

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